On Monday morning (May 25), Doja Cat tried shutting down the #DojaCatIsOverParty by addressing her allegedly racist songs from the past, early participation in what was considered to be alt-right chat rooms and self-hatred issues rooted in her curly hair in a lengthy Instagram Live video.
The video supported a note she wrote to her 6.8 million fans on Monday about how she grew up using public chat rooms to socialize with others and how she takes pride in being a Black woman with her father Dumisani Dlamini’s side being from South Africa.
What resurfaced about Doja Cat (real name Amalaratna Zandile Dlamini) over the weekend got Twitter chatting nonstop about whether the “Say So” hitmaker, who recently scored her first No. 1 Billboard Hot 100 hit with the Nicki Minaj-assisted remix, is a racist or has internalized racism in controversial ways.
Her first bullet point during the apologetic IG Live session was about self-hatred after a video surfaced online where the naturally curly-haired singer complained about maintaining her locks. “It’s frustrating for me. It’s very hard for me,” she confessed. “A lot of my friends would agree who have hair like mine that they have a hard time taking care of it. What I think that the mistake may have been that I made was saying it on a social platform, saying it in public…. In no f—ing way does it mean that I hate my hair. My hair is amazing. I have beautiful hair.”
The twofold debate parted Twitter viewers in different groups, with some blaming black women in general for not “appreciating their natural hair” to others showing sympathy for the artist for not being more in touch with her African roots after Doja told Whoopi Goldberg earlier this month that she had never met her father.
Another hot button topic she discussed was her 2015 track “Dindu Nuffin,” a racial slur that distorts the phrase “didn’t do nothing” used to ridicule unarmed Black people who fall victim to police brutality. Twitter users claimed her song specifically mocked the death of Sandra Bland, a Black woman who died in police custody that same year after being arrested during a traffic stop, which Doja denied had any connection to her. Much like the way Black people reclaimed the age-old n-word either colloquially or musically, the 24-year-old singer wanted to repurpose the racial epithet in her track after having the term hurled at her in the chat rooms.
“As for the old song that’s resurfaced, it was in no way tied to anything outside of my own personal experience. It was written in response to people who often used that term to hurt me,” Doja wrote on her Instagram. “I made an attempt to flip its meaning, but recognize that it was a bad decision to use the term in my music.”
During her half-hour non-scripted mea culpa, Doja continued explaining how these chat rooms bred such a hurtful environment for her that she recorded “Dindu Nuffin” as a “f— you” statement.
“I’m very sorry to anybody who’s taken offense, to anybody who I’ve hurt using this term. When I used it, it was because I was in chat rooms all the time, and I was kind of locked away,” she revealed. “I was always on there just dealing with people coming at me left and right talking about different slanderous terms after another. The term that I used in the song is one that I learned that day. People were calling me it left and right, left and right and I used it in a song. It was to kind of take back and f—ing just say ‘f— you to those people.’ The song, however, I agree, may be the worst song in the entire world.”
The term couldn’t have come back in a worse time during America’s history after George Floyd, an unarmed Black man from Minnesota died Monday (May 26) shortly after a police officer pressed his knee onto Floyd’s neck when three other officers suspected him of forgery. Whether fans were able to hear her out on her decision or completely nullify it, Doja conveniently claimed that “to see my song that I made connected to an innocent Black woman’s death is one of the most awful rumors that I have ever encountered.”
But Doja’s online history, especially in these previously free chat rooms, didn’t just include what was said to her, but what she supposedly asked another member to do to her. Twitter users scraped up old footage of Doja hanging out on the video-chatting website Tinychat and asking a white man to call her the hard n-word as a form of raceplay, which is a type of sexual roleplay where one person insults the other with derogatory slurs as a form of domination. She admitted in the IG Live video that she’s “kinky as f—” yet denied she made this request or ever participated in raceplay in what Twitter users claimed to be exclusively white supremacist chat rooms, which she also denied.
One Twitter user described the kink as potentially stemming “from internalized racism” and as a common phenomenon in pornography. The commentary seems to fit Doja’s character as a self-proclaimed e-girl, which has taken on the derogatory meaning of girls who spend a lot of time online in search of sex while sporting eclectic aesthetics, ranging from rainbow-colored hairstyles to winged eyeliner. The “Boss Bi—” artist even created a Vogue guide to e-beauty last December.
But hot pink wigs or fetishes don’t summarize Doja’s sexuality. She also debunked the rumor that she only dates white men, saying race, religion and other factors don’t factor into whom she loves. However, those still hanging out at the #DojaCatIsOverParty haven’t been loving her hits lately because of the confusing slew of clips that came back online and the live video she started to disprove them.
One fan wrote, “i’m still listening to doja cat. i just aint condoning her self hatred,” but others cannot separate the artist from the person like that, a common phenomenon for controversial musicians. With online virality being forever etched into her career (her self-produced 2018 “Moo” YouTube music video paved the path for her success before “Say So” gained early attention from TikTok), whatever Doja has said or done on the Internet gets carved in stone right next to her musical milestones.